Despite the fact I have some knowledge about comics – characters & backgrounds – I have never completed any collections, apart from some random issues. It is actually pretty hard to keep up a collection when you live in the province of France, and I don’t like compiled volumes. So while I was visiting my beautiful Nya in the UK, I took an afternoon to browse around comic book shops (one of the reasons to make me want to move to Manchester – the biggest one being of course my amazing girlfriend). So while I was checking the latest comic releases, I felt like starting a collection from the beginning without missing any issues and being able to follow the whole thing. Swamp Thing piqued my interest and after a quick browse through the pages, I thought “Why not”, and bought the first two issues. I never really knew anything about this character actually – vaguely knew the name and could automatically picture him as a villain. Well, turns out, this character is awesome, his arc as well, and I want to read so much more about him ! So I thought I could post a review for each issue individually, hoping you’d enjoy that. Also, consider these as a”newbie outlook”. Just to warn you, there won’t be massive spoilers, but perhaps subtle references. So if you really want to keep a 100% empty mind before reading the series, unfortunately you will have to stay away from this review.
This series started off with a smart and catchy first issue. Anyone who doesn’t know Swamp Thing will be able to read, understand, and love it. Len WEIN (writer) and Kelley JONES (illustrator) throw us right away into Louisiana’s Bayou. Short but efficient, our curiosity is instantly caught while we get a bit of an explanation on how it became Swamp Thing. After this small kind of introduction, we have a full page (image on the left) where we have the name Swamp Thing for the first time in capital letters but still in line with the speech bubbles. This awesome picture shows us the powerful and fearless Earth’s Avatar fighting an alligator in the swamp where the title of the issue “The Dead Don’t Sleep” is written also in capitals.
The whole introduction escalates in a way that gives you the feeling of watching an old horror movie, where we can hear the voice-over in our heads shouting the capitals “Swamp Thing – The Dead Don’t Sleep !” That nostalgic feeling from those movies is increased with the epic colors given by Michelle MADSEN (colorist) and the writing style of Rob LEIGH (Letterer). We do feel as if we are in the Bayou with Swamp Thing right at the beginning and his creepy, hoarse voice echoing in our minds.
As the introduction goes on, we learn his abilities through this instinctively natural fight with the alligator. Clever. Now that we have an idea how awesome Swamp Thing is, and how awesome this series might be, we get into the story, smoothly followed by a feature that I won’t spoil. This is when our green hero gets his heroic quest after an heroic act. While we follow his path, we meet his first enemy in an epic moment that has been smoothly incorporated, and which leaves us with a great need to read the following issue.
After this debut, I feel this huge nostalgia from those 80’s horror movies. The colors and the letters accentuate this vibe while the writing is as intense as the illustrations that are shown to us. We spectate magnificent full pages, and all this sweaty and sticky atmosphere of the swamp is mixed with the increasing tension that plays around with our curiosity, giving us this urge to continue the series. Apart from that, everything comes together in the grand finale. So this first issue does offer us a well driven pace while in the end, every piece of the puzzle matches perfectly together.
To me, this is Platinum.